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Rapid Review of DFID’s Humanitarian Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Research reports

Written by Steven A Zyck

Research reports

​In January 2014, ICAI sent a small team, led by Commissioner Mark Foster and including HPG Research Fellow Steven A Zyck, to assess and provide prompt and timely feedback on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the UK Government’s response to Haiyan.

The team found that the UK’s response to Haiyan was successful: DFID was well prepared to act swiftly and decisively. It mobilised quickly and provided a multi-sector response which met the real and urgent needs of affected communities. The UK was widely praised for its speed, flexibility and expertise.

DFID faces challenges, however, in considering how to support the ongoing recovery, given that it does not intend to establish a permanent presence in the Philippines.

As a result of these findings, we have given a rating of Green.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “DFID responded swiftly and decisively to the emergency. It was the largest single donor and played a lead role in the response, providing vital humanitarian assistance to people in dire need. Its early and multi-faceted action helped to galvanise support from other donors and to influence the global humanitarian aid response."

Lead Commissioner, Mark Foster, said, “DFID’s preparedness to respond, combined with the effective use of military assets and pace of decision-making meant that the UK was able to make an early and vital contribution to this international response.  The Philippines is, alongside many other parts of the world, increasingly prone to natural disasters, and DFID has an opportunity to play an even more influential role in the global humanitarian system and increase the likelihood of future effectiveness.”

ICAI has made three recommendations to support DFID’s future humanitarian responses:

Recommendation 1: In the Philippines, DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should support the Philippine Government’s reconstruction plan in strategic areas, such as climate change resilience.

Recommendation 2: DFID should build on the successes of this response to strengthen its leadership within the global humanitarian response systems and specifically of its stock-piling and logistics capacity.

Recommendation 3: DFID should use learning from this response to develop a clear strategy for humanitarian engagement where it has no in-country presence.

Link to ICAI website and further information about the project.

Steven A Zyck